5 Crazy but Effective Ways to Increase Your Squat

Written by James C., M.S.(C), PT

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The squat is without a doubt the most important exercise for building strength.

By increasing your max squat you will see benefits in all areas of your life – body bodybuilding and otherwise.

While making rapid squat progress is definitely possible when you first start out, over time that progress will slow and even going up by 10 more pounds seems like a challenge.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that they are actually capable of lifting more weight than they think – they just need to train their mind.

In order to lift heavy weights you need to have a certain level of confidence.

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Additionally, your body needs to be used to the feel of these weights.

This is why we put this article together for you – these exercises get your body used to dealing with heavier weights and helps build that crucial confidence.

5 crazy but effective ways to increase your squat

1.Top-Range Partial Squats

This exercise allows you to lift some very heavy weight as you go down about a quarter of the way.

Set the racks up with guards to about the point where you want to go to however resist the temptation to bounce the weight off the guards.

Since you are only going down part way you will feel much more confident and your body will still get used to supporting that weight even if it’s for a shorter rep.

2.Bottom-Up Squats

One area of the squat where a lot of people struggle is coming out of the hole (in other words, the beginning of the position portion of the rep).

This particular exercise helps you train your upper back to help in the lift which is often the difference between making it up and having to bail out.

While squats are definitely primarily a lower-body exercise they still require assistance from upper-body muscles to get through the lift.

When you start getting into the heavier weights, the impact of having solid upper-body recruitment is even more clear.

This is where the bottom-up squat comes in.

The exercise teaches you to get close to the bar and push through the bottom.

In order to get the bar moving you really need to push your back into the bar which helps drive home the importance of having a strong back.

Again make sure you lower the weight under control when you come back down and void the temptation to crash against the guards.

Also, make sure you keep your lower back arched to avoid any injuries.

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This is definitely the simplest exercise to get your body used to lifting heavy weight and for building confidence.

Having said that, it’s also very effective.

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Load up your 1RM onto the bar, get underneath the bar and lift up like you normally would however pause before actually walking the weight back.

Stand there for 6-10 seconds with the weight on your back, then lower it back into the guards slowly.

Add another 10% to the weight and restart the process. Now just because you aren’t doing a full squat doesn’t mean you can slack off.

You should still keep your core right and brace yourself as if you were about to squat.

If you do this exercise properly you should be able to go as much as 20% above your usual 1RM.

The benefits of this exercise are pretty obvious.

For starters, having that much weight on your back will make your normal 1RM weight feel a lot lighter.

It also makes your upper back and traps work hard and get them used to playing more of a role in the squat.

Finally, your nervous system will get familiar with what “heavy weight” feels like so you don’t freak out next time you lift heavy.


Once you master the stand-up with a weight 20% above your usual 1RM you can move on to the walk-out.

However make sure you don’t go quite as high on this one as there is a bit more risk involved.

You are basically unracking the weight and taking a few steps back into your usual squat position.

At that point simply hold the weight for a 6-10 seconds then return it to the rack.

As mentioned, since this exercise involves some movement you won’t be able to lift quite as much and it would definitely be best to work with a spotter.

Just like with the stand-ups, this exercise will get you used to walking out with some very heavy weight on your back.

As a result your normal 1RM weight will feel a lot easier to unrack.

After a few weeks of doing this you will find you are all of a sudden able to lift heavier weight for your 1RM.

This is because your body really needs to be tight in order to walk the weight out.

Remember not to take shortcuts with this one and really keep the back, core and traps as tight as possible.

5.Boost Your Testosterone Levels

You probably did not know this.

After about 30 minutes of heavy lifting your body starts releasing cortisol.

Cortisol is basically the opposite of the muscle building hormone testosterone.

The hormone that makes you lose muscle!

So when cortisol levels get higher your testosterone levels get lower.

If you are truly serious about muscle growth you should try to keep your testosterone levels as high as possible.

A great way to turbocharge your testosterone production is to take a testosterone boosting supplement.

They are designed to maximise our natural ability to produce testosterone.

See the best testosterone boosting supplements on the market here. 

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